While Pearl Tull was dying, a funny thought occurred to her. It twitched her lips and rustled her breath, and she felt her son lean forward from where he kept watch by her bed. "Get..." she told him. "You should have got..."This opening made me want to keep reading about the Tull family:
You should have got an extra mother, was what she meant to say, the way we started extra children after the first child fell so ill.
Beck, the father who deserts themI've read about a third of the novel, and each chapter (so far) has been from the viewpoint of a different character: first Pearl, then Cody, then Jenny, and now Ezra. Here's a synopsis of the book.
Pearl, the mother who does the best she can
Cody, who is mean to his brother
Ezra, who relates to people by feeding them
Jenny, whose mother thinks she's a tramp
Pearl Tull is nearing the end of her life but not of her memory. It was a Sunday night in 1944 when her husband left the little row house on Baltimore’s Calvert Street, abandoning Pearl to raise their three children alone: Jenny, high-spirited and determined, nurturing to strangers but distant to those she loves; the older son, Cody, a wild and incorrigible youth possessed by the lure of power and money; and sweet, clumsy Ezra, Pearl’s favorite, who never stops yearning for the perfect family that could never be his own. Now Pearl and her three grown children have gathered together again – with anger, hope, and a beautiful, harsh, and dazzling story to tell.
Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.
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